SECOND WORLD WAR SERVICE
At the beginning of the Second World War, Nellie again wrote to top military officials to volunteer her services. She enlisted in the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps in February 1940. She did not meet the physical standards to serve overseas during
the war, but was eligible for service in Canada. She worked at No. 8 Depot for several months, but was discharged in 1940 to transfer to the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) in order to lend her experience to the newly formed Women’s Division nursing
Nellie took the aviation nursing course to qualify to work for the RCAF. Although she actually failed the course, only achieving a grade of 49% overall, she was admitted based on her previous experience. She became the matron, supervisor of the junior
nurses, at R.C.A.F. Station Hospital in St. Thomas, Ontario. Her senior officer at St. Thomas, Group Captain Collis, wrote that she ran the nursing staff well under difficult conditions and could rise to any occasion.
In 1941 she transferred to the RCAF base at Gander, Newfoundland. She received similar reports of competency and efficiency, but at this point her age and ill health began to impede her ability to do her job effectively. She was frequently ill and injured
herself in a fall in November 1941. In January 1942, the new commanding officer at Gander, Group Captain Foss, recommended first that she be transferred somewhere warmer, and then advised that she be retired.
Nellie officially retired in February 1943. In the following years, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, which had already spread to her skin and bones. She passed away on 23 April 1947, in the Royal Victoria Hospital, where she had spent so much of
her career. She was buried next to her parents and siblings at the Notre Dame Cemetery in Ottawa.